SEASON FINALE Part 1 ~ Now I Lay Me Down to Weep

By Anne

Weep for the moon, for the moon has no reason to glow now.

Weep for the rose, for the rose has no reason to grow now.

The river won’t flow now,

As I lay me down to weep.

You went away, and the break in my heart isn’t mending.

You went away, and know I know there is no happy ending.

There’s no pretending.

As I lay me down to weep.

When you were mine, the world was mine,

And fate constantly smiled.

Now in its place I have to face,

A pillow of tears, all though the years…

Though you are gone, I still pray that the sun shines above you.

Time marches on, yet I know that I always love you.

I’ll keep dreaming of you.

As I lay me down to weep.

Eddie Heyman ~ Now I Lay Me Down to Weep

Prologue

A flash of lightning streaked the sky briefly illuminating the dark English countryside. The rain came down in solid sheets of water, while sharp claps of thunder rattled the windows of the old cottage.

A young woman stood outside, soaking wet. She stared at her own reflection from the rain-dripped windowpanes. Her white-blond, short-pixie hair, that normally framed her features, was now plastered to her thin face. She gazed at the man sitting in the library, watching his hands ball up and pound the desk in frustration. Then she watched as he got out of his chair, walked over the CD player, and pushed the play button. Although she could not hear the song, she knew what the stereo was playing-that song-that damn song that haunted her in her very dreams. She watched him sit back down and close his eyes-being swept away by the music filling the room. He relaxed and then smiled-she frowned-she knew he was thinking of her. Oh God in heaven-how she hated that woman!

It just wasn’t fair-he belonged to her! He was her benefactor, her savior, her everything. He had taken her in when no one else would. Her whole life she had been told she couldn’t do anything right-that she was worthless. He had changed all that. She stared once more at her reflection and bowed her head in self-pity. Who was she kidding? What did she have to offer him?

A crash of thunder jerked her back to the present. Then letting out a long, slow deep breath, she closed her eyes. A smile crept across her face, and she began to giggle like a schoolgirl thinking of the Shakespeare sonnet. ‘So long as men can breathe and eyes can see.’ Her eyes flashed open and she retrieved the newspaper clipping she had placed in the inside pocket of her jacket to keep it from getting wet. She had found the article after spending hours at the library going through rolls and rolls of microfiche. ‘He’ll be so happy with what I found. I’ll prove to him I’m not worthless and then I’ll make him love me-make him forget all about her.’

Opening the door to the cottage, she shook the rain off herself. Then closing the door, she laughed saying, “Or I will kill you Amanda King.”

Act One

Several months later…

Lee Stetson took his wife’s hand as they walked down the jetway together. Entering the plane, he released Amanda’s hand for a moment while he went to go find their seats. Glancing at his ticket, he placed his carry-on in the stow-away compartment. “Wow, first class, Billy must have really gone all out for us—” He turned around to let his wife sit down first and noticed her a few rows back. He glanced at the tickets and noticed for the first time they were not seated together. He pushed the stewardess call button.

The flight attendant walked over to him, bending down. “What can I do for you, Sir?”

Lee glanced up, reading the flight attendant’s nametag. “Yes, Ms. Mockingbird. There seems to be some mistake with our tickets. My wife isn’t sitting next me.”

“Your wife?” The lady asked confused.

“My wife, she’s sitting three rows back.”

The flight attendant looked over her shoulder and then back to Lee. “I’m sorry, Sir, but you are flying alone, and there is no one sitting there.”

Annoyed, Lee turned around, and saw that the woman was correct—no one was there. “I don’t understand—” he began to say, then panic set in and quickly unbuckling his seat belt, he frantically searched the plane.

“Amanda!” He hollered walking down the aisle, but she was nowhere to be found.

“Sir, I must ask you to take your seat. We’re taking off.” The flight attendant forcibly walked him back to his seat.

“Where’s my wife—what have you done with her? A-MAN-DA!”

Suddenly he felt an arm on his shoulder, shaking him hard. “Lee! Wake up,” the voice said.

“Huh, what?”

“Lee, wake up,” Amanda’s voice came again and he realized he was not on an airplane, but in his own bed. Slowly he opened his eyes, focusing on her.

“You were calling out my name.”

“I’m sorry, Honey. I didn’t mean to wake you.” He rubbed his eyes. “I had one of those weird dreams—that just don’t make any sense.”

Amanda brushed her hair away from her eyes. She propped herself up by her elbow looking at him. “Do you want to tell me about it? Was it a nightmare?”

“No.” He ran his hand through his hair, trying to think. “I can’t remember anything other than we were on an airplane and something—about a bird.”

“A plane and bird dream, huh? Plane dreams are supposed to be a good sign. A journey of some kind. Maybe we’re going on a trip?”

Lee shrugged his shoulders, still confused—like something was just outside his grasp. “Yeah, maybe? I’m sorry, let’s just go back to sleep.”

Amanda nodded. She rolled over onto her side and turned off the light.

A second after the room had darken, the sound of Emily’s cries filled the house. Lee felt Amanda push back the covers, but grabbed her hand instead. “Let me. You did it last time.”

“Thanks, Sweetheart. There’s a bottle in the fridge if she’s hungry.”

Lee watched her rollover again and close eyes. He gently stroked her check with the back of his hand. “Love you, Mrs. Stetson,” he whispered.

“I love you, too,” he heard her mumble.

Placing his feet on the floor, Lee yawned and stretched. He stood up, grabbing his bathrobe from the edge of the bed, and went into the nursery.

Emily was crying; her whole body shook and her face damp with tears. She lifted her hands to her face, trying to put a hand into her mouth. Lee bent over the crib and picked her up. “What’s a matter, Sweetheart?” He patted her back as he walked over to the changing table. He checked her diaper, and noticed she was wet. After changing her, he carried her downstairs. Emily who was resting on Lee’s shoulder had now managed to put her hand in her mouth and began to suck on it vigorously.

Lee opened the refrigerator taking a bottle off the shelf. He ran the bottle under the faucet. He could hear Amanda’s words echoing in his head, “Run it under warm water—not too hot.” After checking the temperature of the milk on his wrist, he sat down on the sofa in the family room to feed his daughter. He looked down at Emily’s face watching her close her eyes as she drank.

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The Agency – Bullpen

Monday 9:00 AM

Lee leaned his head back against the window near the coffee station in the bullpen. Yawning, he pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. The fresh aroma of coffee filled the room. Lee reached over to the coffee pot, pouring some into his mug.

“Ohhh—rough night?” Francine teased. “That’s your third cup already.”

Billy smiled knowingly. “Emily still not sleeping through the night?”

Lee rubbed his free hand over his face. “No, but she’s not waking up as much either. Amanda says she should be sleeping through the night soon.” He then shook his head. “I don’t know how she does it. She gets as much sleep as me and yet she’s coping much better.”

“That’s understandable. She’s been through this twice before.”

“Yeah, but she manages everything so well. Juggling the boys schedules, the new baby, her mother and all, but she’s determined to come back to work. Although, I must admit I miss her up in the Q-Bureau—”

Billy laughed out loud. “We’ve all missed her and I for one look forward to being able to read your reports again.”

“Ha-ha. Oh, I almost forgot. Jamie developed these new shots of Emily. You should see how much she has grown.” Lee put his cup down and took out his wallet. Then he passed the pictures around to Francine, Billy, and a couple of other agents who were standing near the coffee station.

Billy let out another hearty laugh.

“What?” asked Lee.

“You—fatherhood really suits you.”

Francine smiled as she looked at the photograph. “Who would have thought—the great Scarecrow—a happily married man and father. I have to admit it does look good on you.”

“Thanks, Francine.”

“But if you repeat it to anyone I’ll deny it.” She grinned. “Isn’t Amanda supposed to be coming back to work, today?”

“Yes, she had a postpartum appointment with her OB this morning.” He glanced at his watch. “She should be here in the next hour.”

“Good. When she gets here have her come by my office,” Billy told him.

Lee nodded to his section chief. “Will do.”

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Q-Bureau

Lee opened the door to the Q-Bureau and found Amanda sitting at her desk talking on the phone. Crossing his arms, he leaned against the doorframe.

“Yes, Mother…Well, there’s Lee…Give Emily a big kiss from us and we’ll see you at dinner…I love you.” She hung up the telephone and walked over to Lee.

“Hello, Honey.” She put her arms around him giving him a quick peck.

He gestured towards the phone. “So how’s everything at home?”

“Emily’s being as good as gold and has already been fed, changed and is down for her late morning nap,” Amanda said with a hint of regret.

Lee watched her as she lowered her head.

“Hey now, none of that. Emily’s in good hands.”

“I know…it’s just—”

“I understand.” He put his hand under her chin. “Listen, we don’t have anything pressing today. How about we take a long lunch and swing by the house.”

Amanda’s eyes lit up and she hugged him. “Thanks.”

“I’d do anything for my girls.” He smiled. “But first Billy wants us to stop by his office. Are you ready?”

“Yes,” she answered as they left out the door together.

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With his hand at the small of Amanda’s back, Lee led her into Billy’s office. He let her sit first and then took his place by her side in the adjoining chair in front of Billy’s desk.

Billy sat at the edge of his desk, smiling. “Good morning, Amanda.”

“Good morning, Sir.”

“Glad to have you back.”

“It’s good to be back.”

“I understand you saw your own personal doctor as well as Dr. Kelford this morning. Dr. Kelford sent me a report. He says you’re fit to return to field duty.”

“Yes, Sir. And my doctor also said there were no restrictions.”

Lee smiled at her. “Good.”

“Are you ready to get back in the field?”

Locking eyes with Lee, she nodded.

“Great. But I might have a slight problem with scheduling next week and I wanted to go over it with you and Lee first.”

“A problem, Sir?” Amanda leaned forward putting her hands in her lap.

“I was going over the active duty roster for next week and noticed you were supposed to be rotated to Station One.”

Billy watched her slowly nod her head.

“I can of course juggle people around and you can do it later, but I wanted to see what you wanted to do first. It would mean a week away from Emily, so if you don’t want to—”

“Thanks, Sir, but it’s my turn on the rotation schedule. Mother and Lee can take care of Emily. So what role will I be playing?”

“Actually, this time I’d like you to be the ringer.”

“Really?”

“Yes, Francine and I will be instructing, and of course I need you to be evaluating your peers.”

“I understand.”

“Good. Then I need you to report Monday morning to Station One.” He paused for a moment, then looking at both of his agents, he added; “I’ll keep your schedules light the rest of this week.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Now Amanda, are you sure you’re going to feel up to it? You are after all just returning from maturity leave.”

“I’ll be fine. I’m actually looking forward to it—it will be a great opportunity to get back into shape.” Amanda patted her belly.

Lee rolled his eyes and shook his head.

Act Two

4247 Maplewood Drive

Sunday 12:00 PM

“I’ll get it,” Dotty hollered after hearing someone knocking. She opened the front door. “Oh, Mr. Melrose. Won’t you come in?”

“Thanks Dotty.” He walked in and glanced around. “Is Lee here? I need to speak to him.”

“Nothing serious, I hope.”

“No.” Billy shook his head and then took off his hat.

“He’s outside on the patio. The boys wanted hamburgers for lunch and although it’s a little early in the season to barbeque, Lee’s starting the grill. Would you like me to take you to him?”

“I know my way.” Billy walked out the back door and stepped out onto the patio.

“Scarecrow.”

“Hey, Billy. What’s up?” Lee shook his supervisor’s hand.

“I need to speak to you and Amanda. Do you have a moment?”

“Sure. Let me get her. She’s upstairs with Emily.”

Lee walked through the house stopping at the bottom of the stairs. “Amanda,” he yelled. “We have company.”

“I’ll be down in a second,” Lee heard her reply.

A moment later, Amanda joined Lee and Billy by the picnic table. “Sir, is something wrong?”

“Always straight to the point, Amanda. And sorry to interrupt your lunch, but I have a little problem.”

“Problem?” Lee put his hand on the back of his neck.

“Nothing earth-shattering, I assure you,” he started to say, “I’m…well…I don’t have an agent to join me at Station One.”

Lee and Amanda exchanged glances.

“What’s wrong with Francine?” Amanda asked.

“I received a phone call from her this morning…it would appear she has chicken pox.”

Lee laughed. “Chicken pox? Isn’t that a childhood disease? Oh, that’s rich.”

“Lee, it’s not funny.” Amanda swatted him on the shoulder. “Chicken pox can be very serious for an adult.” She turned her attention back to Billy. “Go on, Sir.”

“My problem is she’s unavailable to teach and I only have one other agent who currently has a light schedule.”

“Now, wait a minute, Billy—” Lee began to interrupt.

Billy held up his hand as he leaned closer to them. “This is a lot to ask of you—with Amanda already being at Station One, but I’ll need Lee too, since I don’t have Francine. I know this will be hard on both of you, leaving Emily here—but do you think your mother would mind watching her this week?”

Lee and Amanda exchanged looks again having their own private conversation. Amanda answered for them. “I’m sure Mother can handle Emily and the boys can help around the house, too. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Thanks, Lee, Amanda. I owe you. I’ll see you both tomorrow morning.” Billy stood up, putting his hat back on.

“Sir, would you like to stay for lunch? We have plenty.”

“Actually, Amanda that would be nice. Thank you.”

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Station One

Monday morning

Lee parked the borrowed Agency sedan in the commons area, near the row of cabins, just inside the camp. Stepping out of the car, he grabbed a large file box and his duffle bag from the backseat. He had just closed the car door, when he saw Beaman coming towards him with a clipboard.

Lee placed the box on the trunk of the car and shook Beaman’s hand. “Hello, Beaman. Is everyone here?”

“Yes, all recruits have checked in and are accounted for, Scarecrow.”

“Good.” Lee grabbed the box again and headed down the path with Beaman following. “What do you think so far?”

“They’re awfully green this year, except of course your wife. You have your work cut of for you. I don’t envy you at all.”

“Careful Beaman, I might advance them all and you could have them as freshman candidates next year.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

Lee laughed. “What can you tell me about them?”

Beaman shoved the clipboard into Lee’s face. “A small group of recruits this year, only ten; five men, four women, and your wife.”

Lee pushed the clipboard away. “A good mix this time around.”

Beaman nodded and placed the clipboard on top of the box. “You’ll find the recruits files in your cabin. You are in cabin four and I placed Amanda in cabin five and I’m off, unless, there’s anything else you need from me, Scarecrow.”

“No, that should be all. Where are you taking off to?”

“I thought I would go visit Francine. Maybe swing by with some Chinese take-out.”

Lee winked. “And Calamine lotion—I’m sure you would even be willing to rub some lotion in those hard to reach places.”

“Why I—” he began, then changed his tune, shaking his head. “You know me too well.” Beaman winked back, and then turning on his heel, he headed down the path, whistling as he walked towards his car.

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Lee stepped into the stage, and walked over to the podium. He nodded to Billy, crossed his arms over his chest, and surveyed the new Agency recruits in attendance. He and Billy were dressed in gray sweat suits with orange and white stripes across the front and Amanda and the other candidates were in the standard blue and gray training sweats. “Good grief, Billy, it looks like some of these recruits aren’t any older than Phillip. They’re getting younger each year, aren’t they?”

Billy smiled at him. “Shall we?”

Lee nodded.

Billy cleared his throat waiting for everyone to take a seat and began his yearly lecture. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Billy Melrose and this is my assistant, Lee Stetson. We’ll be your instructors this week. We appreciate you being here and your applications at the agency show your willingness to serve your country. The process of being an agent is a long and difficult one. Station One is only the first step in your training which will include physical exercises, surveillance, deductive reasoning, psychological testing and weapons training. Truth is most of you will not pass this initial phase.”

A young woman in the audience raised her hand. Billy looked down at his clipboard, scanning the names. He already knew the question—it was the same question someone always asked at this point. “Yes, Ms. Reinert?”

“What happens if we do move on?” Margaret Reinert asked.

“I’m glad you asked—those of you who do pass will be asked to move on to special advanced training. Any other questions?” he asked glancing around.

“Good. Mr. Stetson will be handing out these notebooks to you. Inside you will find a copy of your class schedule, map of the camp, field manual and other important information.”

Lee walked around room handing out the notebooks to the recruits. Billy continued, “You should also know that among you is an agent posing as a new recruit. This person we call the ringer. He or she is here to observe and grade you.” Everyone turned around in their seats, scoping out the audience, trying to figure out who that might be.

Billy walked off the stage. “Now, let’s take a tour of Station One.”

The trainees followed Lee and Billy down the trail that curved around the camp. The recruits laughed and talked among themselves.

All of a sudden, someone dressed all in black and wearing a facemask, jumped from behind a tree, grabbing one of the recruits, holding a knife to his neck. A couple of women screamed, and everyone else looked startled. The man released his ‘victim’ and removed his mask.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Scott Morrison,” Billy told everyone. “He teaches the self-defense class and has a black belt in Karate. In addition, he competes in Tae Kwon Do and Kung Fu. Did I forget one, Scott?”

“Yes, kickboxing.”

Billy nodded. “And kickboxing.”

Putting his hands to his side, Scott bowed to the man he had grabbed. “Mr. Sokol, I apologize for grabbing you, but I needed to illustrate a point—in order to survive in this business always expect the unexpected. If I had been a real enemy agent you would now be dead.”

Bryan Sokol looked to the ground, the color of red creeping up his neck.

Scott patted him on the back. “Thanks for being a good sport, Mr. Sokol and don’t worry it throws everyone off the first day.”

Bryan nodded his head.

After the tour, Billy stood in front of the group near the cabins. “Well, that concludes the tour of Station One. You all have a thirty-minute break and then we will meet in front of the flag pole for a five-mile run.”

Everyone in the group groaned.

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Amanda had just completed her second lap around the camp feeling pretty good about her self. Running down the path just past the obstacle course, she thought she heard a noise behind her. She turned around, but no one was there. Hearing and seeing nothing, she continued on her run, when she heard a noise again. “I swear, Lee—” She stopped for a moment and looked around. Bending down to tie her shoe, she verified her small handgun was in her ankle holster. She stood up, fixed her ponytail, stretched her legs, and surveyed the area. With a shrug, she continued down the path.

In a flash, someone caught her from behind, pinning her against a tree.

“Lee,” she screamed and then swatted him on the shoulder. “You nearly scared me to death.”

He looked both ways making sure no one could see them, and grabbing her by the waist he pulled her in capturing her lips.

A moment later, she reluctantly pulled away, catching her breath.

“Lee,” she scolded him, panting. “I’m working.”

“Oh yeah, those sweats you have on work for me.” He winked at her.

She blushed. “If you think I’m cute in this thing, it has been a while.”

He looked into her eyes. “Before Emily was born. Let’s see—it’s only been eight weeks…”

“…five days and seven hours, but who’s counting?” Amanda melted into him. She sighed as his lips met hers again. Then breaking away, she warned, “Someone could see us.”

“Mmm-hmm. You’re right. Still the practical one, I see.” His eyes twinkled at her and he gave her a quick peck. He grabbed her hand. “I’ll run with you this next lap.”

They ran down the trail together unaware of a pair of eyes following them.

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Station One

Later that afternoon

Amanda came out of her cabin door and went down the steps.

“Mrs. King,” she heard her name being called. She turned around to see Lee walking towards her.

“Yes? Ah…Mr. Stetson.”

“May I have a moment with you?”

“Certainly, Sir.”

She followed him around to the other side of the cabin.

He spoke softly. “Did you have a chance to meet any of the recruits?”

“Yes. I’ve meet all of them. As usual, quite a diverse group.”

Lee folded his arms and nodded his head encouraging her to continue. “Any impressions so far?”

“All nine of them appear to be very patriotic, enthusiastic about being here, and want what’s best for the country.”

“Good.” He stepped closer to her. “But none of them hold a candle to you.”

He smiled knowing she was blushing again.

Two recruits came walking down the path, talking to each other. Lee stepped back. They both nodded to them. “Mr. Stetson. Mrs. King.”

“Mr. Villafana. Mr. Sokol,” they answered together.

When both men were gone, Lee asked, “What can you tell me about them?”

“Bryan Sokol is a journalist from D.C. He works for the Washington Blaze as a news reporter and is fluent in Arabic.”

Lee nodded.

“Julio Villafana is an unemployed actor, also living in the D.C. area. He’s supposed to be a master of disguises.”

A young lady around the age of twenty-five headed towards her cabin.

“Margaret Reinert, Sergeant U.S. Army, currently stationed at Ft. Leavenworth. She’s a mechanic.”

“Really?” Lee raised his eyebrow.

“Yes, she was the youngest in her family and has six older brothers, so has always worked around cars and motorcycles.”

An attractive blond came around the corner, almost bumping into Lee. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Stetson. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“That’s okay, uh—”

“Shelton. Cindi Shelton.” She told him before she sauntered down the path.

“That’s Cindi with an ‘I’,” Amanda teased watching her husband eyes follow her.

Lee smiled sheepishly. “And Ms. Shelton?”

“That’s Mrs. Shelton. She’s married, has a three-year old daughter at home, and is a registered nurse at Children’s Hospital.”

“It’s getting crowded over here.” He leaned in and whispered, “Walk with me.”

Tilting her head, she smiled at him.

Side by side, they walked down past the obstacle course. Lee had his hands behind his back and he kicked up rocks along the path.

Amanda walked up to the balance beam and climbed up. Lee took her hand and held her hand, helping her balance herself.

“I called Dotty after lunch and just wanted you to know everything is great at home.”

“Thanks, Sweetheart.” She came to the end of the beam. Lee held out his arms and helped her down. He hugged her tight.

She sighed heavily.

“Hey, none of that.”

“I know. I’m just missing the boys and Emily.” Amanda paused for a moment before continuing, “I can’t even have a picture of her in my cabin.”

“I know.” Lee released her and took out his wallet, he handed her a picture. “But I can have one in my wallet.”

She smiled looking at their baby. “We made a beautiful little girl together.”

He looked around to see if anyone was watching them, pulled her back to him. Kissing the top of her head, he whispered, “I love you, Mrs. Stetson.”

“I love you, too, Mr. Stetson.”

They both glanced around the area and leaned in for a quick kiss. Lee reluctantly let go of her and they continued walking. A moment later, they both heard a branch snap. He stopped them and then looked in the direction of the noise, his hand on his holster. Neither agent heard another sound. They both breathed a sigh of relief.

“Probably just an animal,” Amanda reasoned.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Lee began to relax. “You have self-defense training next. I spoke with Scott; he knows not to be too hard on you.”

“Leeee— ” Amanda began to say, drawing out his name.

“Amanda, you are just returning from maternity leave and I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“I’m not fragile.”

“I didn’t say you were.” He paused. “I worry about you.”

Amanda shook her head. Then touching the zipper on his jacket, she began to play with it. “I know you do. Will I see you at dinner?”

“No, I have a class I need to prepare for tomorrow and I really haven’t had much of a chance to go over the recruit files. I’ll probably just have something brought to my cabin.”

“Then how about I bring you something to eat and meet you at your cabin after dinner.”

“I’d like that.” He winked at her, before heading in the opposite direction.

A woman in the bushes frowned as she watched them. Damn that had been close—too close. They had looked over in her direction, and had almost caught her. She would have to be more careful. Removing the telephoto lens from her camera, she placed it inside her bag. Then she rewound the film. She placed it inside a small plastic canister and put it inside the bag, before heading off towards the woods.

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Afternoon

“Good afternoon, class. If you remember, my name is Scott Morrison and I’ll be your self-defense instructor. We’re going to start this class doing something a little unconventional.” He held up a large paper sack. “Inside this bag are several items you would not normally think of as weapons, but what I want you to do is grab one these items and when I come at you, attack me, using what you have in your hand. An agent needs to think on his or her feet and if unarmed—how to escape quickly. This is called the ‘King Maneuver’.”

Amanda rolled her eyes, slowly shaking her head. Nancy Morgan leaned over and whispered, “Was that named after you?”

Amanda smiled. “Of course not, I could never be that spontaneous.”

“Ms. Morgan. Why don’t you begin?” Scott held out the bag for her.

Nancy reached into the bag grabbing a can of whipped cream.

Amanda groaned inwardly.

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Amanda knocked on Lee’s cabin door a little after seven. “Come in,” she heard him say. She entered the cabin, and walked over to his desk, handing him a plate, covered in tin foil.

“Thanks, Honey. Can you just put it on the table?” He turned his head in that direction. “I’ll eat in a second.”

Amanda walked over to a small table in the center of the room, and placed the plate down. She then sat down looking around the room. It was more spacious than her cabin. Other than the table and two chairs, there was a desk against the window, a trashcan, a dresser and nightstand and a full-size bed. An honest to goodness bed! “Hey, how do you rate? You have a bed and I have to sleep on a cot. That’s not fair.”

“Hey, remember what I said—whoever promised you fair?”

“Nobody,” she mumbled.

He stood up and strolled over to her, taking her hands, he pulled her up. “Of course, I could rectify that—but it would require you to sleep with the teacher.”

“I might consider that.”

He smiled, his dimples deepening.

“What were you working on?”

“Just going over the recruits’ files—putting names with faces.” He sat down, removing the tin foil from the plate, and began to eat his dinner.

“Do you think you can you sneak back here after ‘lights out’?”

Amanda gave him a saucy grin and winked. “I think that can be arranged.”

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Much later that evening

A figure hidden in the bushes, spied Amanda entering Lee’s cabin. Unfolding from her position, she crept up to the cabin, peering through the window. Her dark clothing made her nearly invisible. She watched as Lee led Amanda towards the bed, their lips never parting. They both sat down on the edge of the bed. She watched Lee remove Amanda’s hair clip, freeing her hair. Her long, dark brown hair fell about her shoulders. She had to admit that Amanda was a strikingly beautiful woman. No wonder why he loved her. She watched Lee reach over and turn off the bedside lamp. The figure then drew deeper into the shadows, to her tent above the sloped hillside overlooking the training camp. Although the night was a bit chilly, she dared not light a fire, for risk of being caught. The woman snuggled deep inside her sleeping bag. She thought of Amanda—tall, thin, pretty—yes, any man would desire her. And he had sent her to spy on her. She hated Amanda—she was the reason he didn’t love her. A wicked grin crossed her face. There had to be a way to get rid of her without making him or Lee Stetson suspicious—an accident. She laughed. Yes, an accident would do nicely. But she would have to wait until she picked up some supplies and had the advantage of the cover of darkness to implement her plan. The last thought before she drifted off to sleep was how she was going to get rid of Amanda King.

Act Three

Wednesday morning

The trainees were all sitting around on the outdoor benches observing Billy, who was on stage in front of them standing by a chalkboard. “This next test is an observation test. On this board, there are ten objects. You will be given ten seconds to memorize what you see and then recite back to me—trying to be a specific as possible. Any questions? Good.” Billy nodded to Lee, who flipped the board. “And go.”

Ten seconds later, Lee flipped the board again; the objects now out of sight.

Billy looked down at the podium, scanning the recruit’s names. “Ms. Bonds? What can you remember?”

“Ahhh…let’s see there was a paper clip, a shoe, a gun, some coins, umm a plane ticket, ohh, sorry that’s all I can remember.”

“Okay. Anyone else?”

Margaret Reinert raised her hand.

“Go ahead, Ms. Reinert.”

“There was a fountain pen, a service revolver, a feather duster, a wing nut, six coins, a diamond ring, a shoe—I think for the left foot, an airline ticket—to London, I might add, a paper clip and a hair dryer.”

“Thanks Ms. Reinert—that was perfect.”

The rest of the class looked at her stunned.

During this time, Lee had changed the picture. Next, he displayed for the class for only a second a picture of red and blue marbles.

“Tell me quick, Mr. Connors,” Billy instructed him after the picture was turned, “were there more red or blue marbles?”

“Red.”

“Correct. Now for the next picture.”

The next picture was a line of playing cards.

“Mr. Sokol, looking at these cards what would be the next card in the sequence?”

“The three of hearts.”

“Very good and finally the last picture.”

image of a train on railroad tracks was shown.

“True or false, Mrs. King,” Billy began. “If the train continues going, with all the tracks set as the are, will it return to its starting point?”

Amanda shook her head, not believing she was being asked a question about a train. She hesitated for second, then answered. “False. It’ll hit a dead-end.”

“Excellent. You all did very well—but it’s time for your next class.”

SMK SMK SMK SMK

Lee and Scott Morrison stood outside a large steel building waiting for all the recruits to get there.

“If I could have your attention,” Lee shouted above the crowd once he realized everyone was there. The candidates turned their concentration to him. “Agent Morrison will be calling out your names two at a time. Then you and your partner will be entering this building and you’ll have ten minutes to locate and defuse a bomb.”

“Excuse me a what?” asked one of the recruits.

“A bomb. Don’t worry it’s fake. It’s just harmless smoke and pyrotechnics. Questions?” Seeing no one raise their hand, Lee continued, “Okay. Group one.” He looked over at Scott, giving him the floor.

Scott looked at the clipboard. “First team. Connors and Morgan. On my mark…” he looked at his stopwatch. “And go.”

They all watched the two candidates enter the building.

Amanda stepped closer to Lee, whispering so no one else could hear. “Care to make a friendly wager?”
Lee raised his eyebrow. “Wager?” What kind of wager?”

“I’ll make it simple; loser gets to make the winner’s dinner.”

“Sounds good. What are we betting on?”

“Let’s say predicting the team with the fastest time.” Lee looked at his own clipboard, with Amanda looking over his shoulder. “Ruling you out?”

“Why do you think I’ll cheat?” She gave him an impish grin.

He studied her for a moment. “Yes.”

“Okay, fine. The team with the best time—not including me.”

“Deal.” He winked at her and she smiled back.

“I’m going to say…Shipley and Shelton.”

“The recent college grad nerd and the nurse? No way.”

She shrugged her shoulders. “We could up the ante—if you think I’m wrong.”

He knew she had something up her sleeve. “Naaa.”

“Sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure—but you better be ready to go. You’re next. See you after the exercise.”

SMK SMK SMK SMK

Billy and Lee stood outside the mess hall talking. Lee noticed Amanda coming down the stairs talking with one of the recruits, Denise Bonds.

“Mrs. King,” Lee called out.

Amanda turned to look at him and after acknowledging him, she turned back to her companion. “I’ll see you at our next class.” She then walked over to Lee and Billy.

“Okay. How did you know who would have the best time?”

“Simple deduction, Scarecrow.”

Billy stifled a laugh, covering it with a cough.

“Richard Shipley—the college grad—do you know what he majored in?”

“Yes, physics and mathematics—which means he would know a thing or two about bombs, but that does not necessary mean he would know how to locate one.”

“True. But Cindi Shelton might.”

“How would a nurse know?”

“Cindi is married to a Navy Seal—oh and by the way, Scarecrow, I think we’ll start off with a garden salad, followed by stuffed pork chops and twice baked potatoes and for desert, strawberry cheesecake.” She laughed leaving them behind, on her way to her next class.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

The woman waited until she was sure no one was awake. Stealthily she made her way through the training camp, reaching her destination. She wondered silently why there was no agent on guard. Reaching her destination, she eased herself up the ladder to the platform. She stepped up and removed the rope from the pulley. Taking out a knife she cut into the rope—just enough to fray it, but not enough to cut through. She examined her work and smiled.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

Thursday morning

Lee stood on top of the platform at the obstacle course, handing the candidates the rope they had to grab in order to swing over the open pit. Two men had reached the platform and were waiting their turn. The one turned to the other, “And what about Mrs. King? Is she hot or what?”

“I agree, Harry,” the second man concurred.

“What’s her story?”

“Divorced, mother of two, works for some film company.”

“Divorced, huh?”

“Hey, you two,” Lee scowled. “Are you just going to flap your gums or are you here to train?” He handed the rope to Harry.

A few minutes later, Lee handed the rope to Amanda.

Amanda swung off the platform, when all of a sudden the rope broke. She was falling and there was nothing she could do.

Lee yelled, “AMANDA!”

Act Four

A few hours later

Lee held onto Amanda as he helped her into the cabin.

She leaned against him, allowing him to assist her to the cot. It felt good to sit down.

“Can I get you anything?” He asked concerned.

“No, thanks. Really, I’m okay.”

Lee gently wrapped his arms around her. “Thank God, you’re fine.”

“The field doctor just said I had some bruised ribs.”

He pushed her back looking into her eyes. “Do you have any idea—how terrified I was watching you fall? You nearly scared me half to death.”

“I know. I’m just grateful the rope broke where it did…if it had been over the pit—” she stopped not wanting to finish the sentence. “It could have been a lot worse.”

He pulled her close to him again and took a deep breath. “Well, I think you should go home.”

She shook her head. “I told you—I’m okay. A little sore, but I can finish out the week.”

“A-man-da!”

“Lee, you can’t always protect me—accidents are going to happen.”

“I’m not entirely sure this was just an accident.”

“What are you saying?”

“It’s probably nothing—rope wears down, frays, and finally breaks.” He swallowed hard and then sighed. “You know how I over react with you.”

“Yeah?”

He nodded his head and then smiled sheepishly. “Oh yeah.”

“So, no more telling me to go home?” She told him sternly.

“No.”

“Because I know you—if you had bruised ribs, you wouldn’t be going home. Now why do you expect me to?”

“Okay. Fine—you win.”

“This isn’t a contest, Lee—it’s you and I doing our jobs.”

“I understand.” He sighed again.

“Good.” She pressed her lips together.

“But I do want you to take it easy for the rest of the day.” Lee brushed her face softly with his fingers.

“I have a pretty easy schedule for the rest of the day—all I have left is the driving course.”

“Will you be able to drive with your ribs?”

“Don’t worry about me—I’ll be fine—and I’m a personal friend of the instructor. He’ll go easy on me.”

“Oh yeah, someone I know?”

“Mm-hmm. And although he can be over protective of me—I’m madly in love with the guy.” Leaning forward, she touched his cheek kissing him soundly on the lips.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

‘Damn!’ She thought followed by a series of other curse words. The woman scowled. ‘How could I have been so careless? She should be dead.’

She paced the trail above the camp like a caged animal. She picked up a rock and threw it into the woods. Then she collapsed onto a stump, bringing her knees to her chest; tears streaked her face as she sang softly through her hiccups and tears. “There’s no use pretending, as I lay me down to weep. When you were mine, the world was mine, and fate constantly smiled. Now in its place I have to face, a pillow of tears, all through the years…”

The woman laughed a sinister little laugh. Then threw her hand to her mouth, hoping her voice had not echoed through the camp. What was that motto? If at first you don’t succeed—try, try again. She grinned again, plotting her next move.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

Amanda and Lee walked into the commons area and up to the lunch counter. Lee grabbed a tray and handed it to Amanda.

“Thanks.” Amanda took the tray and walked through the chow line. Lee could see she was moving a little slower than normal.

“Are you all right?” he asked following her.

“Yes, shaken…but fine.” She grabbed a cup of applesauce, putting it on her tray.

“Something funny is going on.”

“Lee, the accelerator stuck. It used to happen on my old station wagon all the time. Leatherneck went over the car. The car had not been tampered with—it was just an accident. And it wasn’t that big of a disaster. Neither you nor I was hurt and neither was anyone else. The hay bales stopped the car.”

He shook his head. “Too many accidents to be a coincidence.”

She looked around, before whispering. “Do you think my cover has been blown?”

He brushed his left hand through his hair and blew out a breath. “I don’t know—but then again I can’t see any of these recruits wanting to take you out.”

They sat down at the table facing each other.

“You spent time with them—any of them you don’t trust?”

She took a bite of her sandwich and shook her head. “I only see a couple of them moving on to advanced training, like Ms. Reinert and Mrs. Shelton, maybe Mr. Villafana, but the rest of them, although not agent material, are nice people. One or two would make good couriers or even civilian auxiliaries.”

“Oh, Mrs. King,” Cindi said walking over to their table. “I’m so glad to see you’re okay. I heard about your car accident. That must have been scary.”

“Yes, it was. Mr. Stetson was kind enough to make sure I was okay and we were just discussing it. Thanks for your concern.”

“Sure, Mrs. King.” She smiled at Amanda and then to Lee before she left.

“I don’t care; until I know what is going on everyone is suspect.”

Amanda rolled her eyes.

“You yourself said you had a bad feeling before you got into the car and I quote—‘I got the feeling we’re being watched,’ end quote.”

“I’ve been having that feeling most of the week.”

“Why didn’t you say something to me before?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Because I’m sure it’s nothing. The camp is a secret—no one knows where it is…so let’s just get through the day and tomorrow, and then we can go home. Okay?”

SMK SMK SMK SMK

The young woman rocked back and forth on the stump. “Stupid—stupid, stupid,” she repeated.

“What are you up too?” She heard a voice with a German accent say.

“Nothing. I did exactly what you asked of me.” Opening up her camera bag, she handed him the canister of film. “I have been observing her and Stetson.”

“But you haven’t grabbed her yet.”

“She’s never been alone,” she snapped.

He nodded and stroked her cheek. She melted into the sensation, but then her face stung as he slapped her. Tears ran down her face and she put her hand to her cheek.

“I’m cold, I’m hungry, and I want to take a shower,” she cried, looking at a cold can of beans which had been her dinner the night before.

“Okay, Autumn. I’ll let you stay at a hotel this evening, but tomorrow night when she leaves here I want you to grab her, do I make myself clear?”

Autumn nodded her head.

“Good.” He smiled. “Soon you will be mine, Amanda.”

SMK SMK SMK SMK

Station One

Friday Evening

Billy stood up at the podium again. “I would like to thank each and every one of you…you should be proud of your accomplishments while here at Station One. We even have a couple of you we would like to move on for Advanced Training. Those who will be moving on will be informed soon. Now without further ado, I’d like to hand out these certificates. Mr. Stetson if you please.”

Lee took out a box of certificates and handed one to each candidate, giving them a firm handshake and thanks for job well done.

When the ceremony was over, the recruits mingled around the cafeteria partaking of the celebration dinner and cake. They congratulated each other, before heading back home.

Amanda was standing with Lee and Billy. “Well, I’m ready to go home myself—but I have some final paperwork to finish. Thanks, Sir, it was a good camp this year.”

“Yes, it was and I can’t thank you and Lee enough. I think I’m going to take off myself—let Jeannie know I’m still alive. Good night you two.”

“Good night, Sir,” Amanda repeated.

“I’ll follow you to your cabin,” Lee told her.

“I’d like that, but really you should go on home…I’ll be here for awhile longer. Go spend some time with mother, the boys, and Emily,” she encouraged him. “I’ll be home soon.”

“Let me walk with you first and I’ll think about it.” He took her hand and they walked hand-in-hand down the path towards the cabins.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

Later that evening

Amanda maneuvered the Wagoneer down a darkened country road. The radio played in the background, keeping her company. She saw the glow of a car’s headlights behind her. As it moved closer, the headlights were so bright that she almost had to close her eyes to keep from being blinded. A truck seemingly appeared out of nowhere in front of her! She slammed on the brakes. The Jeep skidded on the gravel road, before coming to a halt. The car behind her instantly swerved around her. Her heart was in her throat and she took a moment to catch her breath.

Every instinct Amanda possessed told her that she should keep on driving, but she couldn’t. She had to check it out, see if everyone was all right. Unbuckling her seat belt, she reached under the passenger seat, grabbing a flashlight. She got out of the car, and after shutting the door, she hollered, “Hello.”

Flashlight in hand, she approached the truck. She could make out a figure sitting in the truck’s cab, slumped over the wheel—“Hello?” she called out again. “Sir, Ma’am—are you all right?”

There was no reply—Amanda moved closer when she suddenly realized that the figure wasn’t human after all—it was stuffed. ‘A scarecrow!’ Gasping, Amanda stepped backwards, when all of a sudden, someone grabbed her, forcing a cloth over her nose and mouth…she struggled for a moment.

“…been waiting for this…I told you—you would pay for your betrayal,” she heard the voice say, before her world went black.

To Be Continued In Part II

13 Comments

  • By Ilana, July 5, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

    Wow! What a nail bitter. Can’t wait for the conclusion!

  • By Brittany, July 5, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

    To quote Amanda “Oh My gosh!”
    I cannot wait for more of this!! I am dying to know who has Amanda, and I’m hoping it’s not who I am thinking!

  • By Angela Crapyou, July 5, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

    Nice job on this episode. Can’t wait till I read the rest of the episode.

  • By Amy, July 11, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

    Nice job, especially with the dialogue and the cliffhanger. I particularly like that the decoy truck had a stuffed scarecrow in it.

  • By weston housewife, July 12, 2009 @ 4:37 am

    Awesome story Anne. What a great cliff hangar. I’m glad I don’t have to wait till next week to finish it.

  • By Mary R., July 22, 2009 @ 11:02 am

    Terrific — They’re back at Station One again, but this time, things have heated up considerably between Lee and Amanda, and she gets to spend the night in his cabin. What a differnce a few years make.

    I enjoyed the sweet romantic interlude entangled with the looming threat that stalks Amanda — a gripping thriller.

  • By Terry Kay, August 5, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

    Let’s see German accent…the Interpol case. Herr Kleinwhatever is back. Great story so far. Thank you.

  • By Gwen, August 12, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

    Wonderful work Anne ! Well done, great suspens.
    Thanks.

  • By berniej, August 22, 2009 @ 1:17 am

    Wow I am really not good with suspense…aaagghhhh
    I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NOW…I love the idea of re using the Station One theme it works really well and although usually I would expect them to be more careful of their’cover’ in the circumstances he’s bound to have trouble with his very well developed protective tendencies!

  • By Soapie, February 13, 2013 @ 11:49 am

    ooooo! i should’ve known! you’re sneaky!

  • By birdie, December 21, 2016 @ 9:50 am

    episode 7.18 seems to be missing….

  • By birdie, December 27, 2016 @ 6:23 am

    love the episodes, but still wanted to know what happened to part 2 of this, as am wanting to know what happens!

  • By admin, January 5, 2017 @ 11:27 am

    I’m not sure what happened. I’m looking into it! Sorry about that!

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Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs. King and its characters belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Enterprises. No infringement is intended. This is written for entertainment purposes only.